Amphibians on Romney Marsh
The Great-crested newt is the largest newt found in Great Britain reaching lengths of 17cm. They have dark grey-brown backs and flanks that are covered in darker spots making them appear black. Males have a jagged crest running along their backs, which is more pronounced during the breeding season and lies flat against their bodies when they are out of the water. Females do not have a crest but instead have a yellow-orange stripe running along the lower edge of their tails.
The Romney Marsh Countryside Project surveyed approximately 350 sites within the Romney Marsh Natural Area for great-crested newts between 1998 and 2000 and were found at 101 of the sites surveyed, with populations ranging from 1 to 358 individuals.
The numbers of great crested newts have declined steadily across Britain and Europe and are now one of the most heavily protected species in the UK.
Great Crested Newt (ack.7)
The Marsh Frog, known locally as the "laughing frog", is a large species of frog which was introduced to Britain in 1935. A Mr Edward Percy Smith, a playwright, brought 12 Marsh Frogs back from Hungary to his garden pond at Stone-in-Oxney, just off the Romney Marsh. They quickly escaped and spread through the network of ditches on the Marsh. By 1937 they were so widespread that there were numerous complaints to the Ministry of Health about the noise. Keep an eye open for the Marsh Frog, for although they are very wary, they tend to sit on the banks of ditches on hot, sunny days, only disappearing into the water when approached.
The Marsh Frog is a water-dwelling, generally green-coloured frog species. It can reach a maximum length of 17 centimetres, but males remain smaller (around 12 cm). The head is proportionally large and the hind legs are long, which gives them excellent jumping abilities. There is a large variation in colour and pattern, ranging from dark green to brown or grey, sometimes with some lighter green lines; a lighter line on the back is generally present. The Western European populations are generally dark green to black with dark spots on the back and sides and three clear green lines on the back.